Culture Crash 20-45

Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

My fondest memory of a movie theater was seeing The Dark Knight at midnight at 15 years old, absolutely giddy when Batman hitched a ride via skyhook and when a truck flipped end over end. In 2010, I ran around like a madman, trying to finish all of my closing duties at Corner Bakery so I could run across the parking lot to see Inception on opening night with my brother. I took an extra day off on the end of my honeymoon to drive three hours from Chicago to Indianapolis to see Dunkirk in Christopher Nolan’s preferred 70 mm IMAX format. I also recently drove an hour and a half each way with my wife to see Tenet at a drive-in on its U.S. premiere date, then did the drive again by myself two days later.

So, yes, I’m pretty in the bag for Christopher Nolan and his films, which is why I could not wait to read film writer Tom Shone’s new book, The Nolan Variations, which offers a look at the life and career of Christopher Nolan, delving deep into all 11 of Nolan’s films.

Shone managed to pull off multiple magic tricks with his book, offering insightful analysis of Nolan and his films, providing incredible behind-the-scenes stories from the making of every Nolan movie and filling in more of Nolan’s biography than we fans have ever received before.

Every chapter is full of references and inspirations that Christopher Nolan pulls from, brimming with theories and puzzles that have perplexed the man himself and inspired some of the puzzles and plots that have enthralled us for decades. I tore through the book, stopped only a couple of times to re-watch some of Nolan’s movies that I hadn’t seen in a while – like Following and Memento – with the additional insights from this book. But like a Nolan film, I can’t wait to revisit this book again to fully digest its contents, re-watch the films, and make a list of those influences and theories. Shone has given fans a treasure trove, and I’m positive other Nolan fans will be as absolutely delighted as I was.

Tom Shone’s The Nolan Variations is available now.

I’m Evan Rook.